The easy causes your PC video games don’t play in addition to they need to

The HP Omen 40L desktop sitting on a coffee table.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Whether you will have the best gaming desktop cash should purchase or a budget-oriented PC, the entire level of all of it is to have the ability to play your favourite video games and make them look good and run nice. Not each gamer cares about visuals, however efficiency issues, and getting your cash’s price out of your PC is essential, too.

If a PC performs poorly in video games, many people instantly assume that the {hardware} is in charge. Sure, that may usually be the case, however earlier than you begin wanting into methods to upgrade your computer, check out these options that may resolve your drawback and allow you to get again to high-quality gaming.

PC settings

Whether you’re coping with poor efficiency, akin to stuttering and low frames per second (fps), otherwise you’re merely sad with how your video games look, the basis of the issue would possibly lie within the settings of your PC — and as such, it may very well be a straightforward repair.

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Let’s go over a few of the issues it is best to look into to make your gaming expertise that significantly better.

Windows settings

Game mode in Windows 11.
Monica J. White / Digital Trends

Windows 10 and Windows 11 have a few settings which are price enabling if you happen to’re after optimum gaming efficiency: Game Mode and High Performance mode.

Game Mode lets Windows know that it ought to prioritize your whole PC assets towards enhancing gaming. When you boot up a recreation, the PC will begin prioritizing that over different duties, directing CPU and GPU energy to ensure the sport runs in addition to potential.

To allow Game Mode, merely sort “Game Mode” into the Windows Search bar, or go to Settings > Gaming > Game Mode.

High-performance mode in Windows 11.
Monica J. White / Digital Trends

Next, High Performance mode. Unlike Game Mode, it doesn’t particularly goal gaming; as a substitute, it boosts the general efficiency of your PC, and that interprets to good points in video games. It lets your processor and graphics card entry as a lot energy as they want every time it may assist. Be conscious, although, that utilizing this on a laptop computer is certain to have an effect on your battery life, however it additionally has far more noticeable advantages than enabling it on desktop.

To swap your energy setting to High Performance, head on over to the Control Panel, then Hardware and Sound, after which Power Options.

Windows settings.
Monica J. White / Digital Trends

There are a number of extra fascinating settings tucked beneath System > Display > Graphics > Default graphics settings in Windows 11. Once you’re there, allow hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling, variable refresh price (VRR), and optimizations for windowed video games. Lastly, if you happen to personal an Nvidia GPU, make certain to tune it for gaming functions utilizing the Nvidia Control Panel.

Background processes

The Task Manager on the Thinkpad X13s
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Running too many background processes can have a huge impact in your gaming expertise, so your greatest guess is to shut as many as you may. Some of the worst offenders are browsers, so if you happen to’ve acquired Chrome open with many tabs, there’s your first potential offender.

To get an summary of all of the background processes which are at present operating in your PC, press Ctrl + Alt + Del to entry the Task Manager (or simply sort “Task Manager” into the search bar).

While you’re there, take a look at the “Startup Apps” tab on the left (in Windows 11) or on the prime (in Windows 10). If you see a course of that has a excessive affect on startup time and also you don’t want it to launch after booting, disable it. This received’t straight have an effect on your gaming, however it’s a great way to release some system assets. Before you disable one thing, be sure that your system doesn’t want it.

BIOS settings

The Intel Baseline Profile setting in Gigabyte's BIOS.

Venturing into the BIOS is more than likely going to be price your whereas, each for the general efficiency of your PC and for the sake of gaming. Before you begin, although, update it to the latest version.

First, enter the BIOS/UEFI. The manner to do that differs primarily based in your PC, however you’ll all the time have to restart it after which press the beneficial key repeatedly. This is usually Delete or F12, however you would possibly encounter F2, F10, or Esc.

Once within the BIOS, begin by overclocking your RAM to run on the most pace it may obtain. This is definitely performed by enabling the proper Intel XMP or AMD DOCP/EXPO profile within the BIOS settings. We have a separate information on how to overclock your RAM, too.

An illustration of Nvidia's Resizable Bar.

Enabling Resizable Bar (ReBar) or AMD Smart Access Memory (SAM) is one other factor that can provide you a lift.

ReBar is a PCIe function that offers your processor entry to the complete extent of your graphics card’s VRAM, which may improve efficiency — though, as we’ve discovered, it’s not always a big difference. On the opposite hand, Intel Arc GPUs profit from it massively. SAM is AMD’s model of ReBar, made to work with the Team Red ecosystem.

To allow both, look via your BIOS/UEFI to find one thing like PCI Settings or PCI Advanced Settings.

Lastly, you may examine whether or not your Intel or AMD CPU is already operating in Turbo mode. This is basically a manufacturing facility overclock that doesn’t require any tweaks and must be secure to your processor. It can web some gaming efficiency video games, particularly in CPU-bound titles. We have a separate information for this, so check it out.

Game settings

Cyberpunk 2077 running on the HP Omen Transcend 14.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Game settings are sometimes the most effective and simplest way to enhance efficiency or visuals, though the 2 don’t all the time go hand in hand. Better visuals almost all the time imply worse efficiency, as in, decrease fps.

Anything to do with shadows and ray tracing must be the primary to go if you happen to’re in search of greater body charges, no matter your {hardware}. In sure video games, akin to Cyberpunk 2077, these workloads are actually heavy on the GPU, and solely the best graphics cards can deal with them with out a lot of a difficulty.

View distance is one other large one. The extra panorama and particulars your GPU must load at a time, the decrease your body price. The similar applies to settings like floor litter and projected textures.

If you need greater fps, think about turning down the next settings and see the way you prefer it:

  • Shadows
  • Texture high quality
  • Ray tracing
  • Draw distance
  • Volumetric Lighting
  • Projected textures
  • Sunshafts
  • Ambient Occlusion
  • Anisotropic filtering
  • Anti-aliasing
  • V-Sync
Cyberpunk 2077 graphics settings.
Monica J. White / Digital Trends

Be cautious with V-Sync, although, as disabling it would trigger display tearing. Note that turning down a few of these settings, akin to textures, will usually make the sport look considerably worse. On the opposite hand, if you happen to’re after higher visuals and don’t thoughts dropping some frames, flip the above settings up and take a look at the sport.

Another good solution to get extra fps in video games is to check out Nvidia’s DLSS, AMD’s FSR, or Intel’s XeSS. These are upscaling applied sciences that improve recreation efficiency, and in some circumstances — akin to Nvidia’s DLSS 3.5 — can enhance your fps by a noticeable quantity with out hurting visuals (and even make them higher at occasions).


Driver installation in GeForce Experience.
Monica J. White / Digital Trends

If something is incorrect with a PC, one of many first culprits to think about are the drivers. We suggest staying on prime of driver updates, and whereas GPU drivers are essentially the most impactful for avid gamers, don’t neglect the remainder of your system. No matter the motive force, it’s greatest to avoid beta variations and wait till all of the kinks have been ironed out.

If you will have an Nvidia GPU, now we have a separate information on getting a new Game Ready driver. AMD GPU house owners can obtain drivers from the official web site here, whereas Intel Arc avid gamers ought to head over here. In the case of Intel particularly, staying on prime of drivers will be actually useful, as some driver updates have delivered as a lot as a 268% performance improvement in some video games.

Outside of GPU drivers, make certain to obtain the newest chipset drivers, as these usually include optimizations for the CPU. These drivers will be discovered via your motherboard producer, which can have equipped your PC with proprietary software program; in any other case, search via its web site — they’re all the time there someplace.

Typing “Device Manager” into the Windows Search bar is one other easy solution to obtain new drivers, though it received’t all the time produce outcomes. Simply right-click on the element that you simply’d like to seek out new drivers for and let Windows attempt to discover them for you. Speaking of which: Stay common along with your Windows Updates, too, however similar to with another patch, getting them recent would possibly introduce new points at occasions.

One factor to avoid is numerous kinds of driver administration software program. It sounds nice on paper — updating all drivers with one click on — however it may additionally mess up your PC in an enormous manner, both by making a large number of the drivers or by introducing malware.


Resident Evil 4 running on the LG UltraGear 45 gaming monitor.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Tweaking your monitor means tweaking your gaming expertise. If your show has the next refresh price than the usual 60Hz, Windows could not routinely alter the setting, and your 144Hz (or extra) shall be throttled again to 60Hz when it doesn’t need to be. Enabling greater refresh charges goes to make a world of distinction if you happen to’ve performed at 60 fps to this point, particularly in case your {hardware} can present the complete 144Hz (once more, or extra).

To optimize your refresh price, head to System > Display > Advanced show settings. Make positive that your monitor is about to the refresh price that it may present. You also can do that via the Nvidia Control Panel when you have an Nvidia GPU, in addition to overclock your monitor to hit an excellent greater refresh price if the {hardware} helps that. Enter the Nvidia Control Panel by right-clicking in your desktop, then choosing Nvidia Control Panel (you might have to first click on Show extra choices if you happen to’re on Windows 11). On the left-hand aspect, navigate to Display > Change decision to regulate the refresh price, and Customize.

Under Customize, you may choose Enable resolutions not uncovered by the show, after which click on Create Custom Resolution. This will allow you to check out a customized refresh price — we don’t suggest enjoying with the decision. Turn up the refresh price slowly, step-by-step, to make sure stability. If your monitor turns itself off and stays black till the top of the check, which means you’ve gone too far and have to revert to a earlier refresh price.

If you’re on an AMD GPU, you will want to obtain AMD Adrenalin software. Next, right-click in your desktop and launch Radeon Settings. Under Display Settings, click on on Create Custom Resolution and enter a refresh price supported by your monitor, then improve it in tiny increments. Apply and check every setting by clicking Save. If the display seems unstable, flip the refresh price down.

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